Josh and Kerin: A Courtship Story
Thoughts from Dad and Momma Beall in 2006:
Josh’s life verse:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, that God prepared beforehand, that we would walk in them. Eph. 2:10
Kerin’s life verse:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
If we put these two verses together, we see God preparing good works
for them, causing them to walk in them, and getting all the glory!
We pray this little article about the story God wrote for Josh and
Kerin, would encourage you to trust God to write His own story in your
life. Beyond broad biblical principles, we don’t believe there is a
set program or plan for every relationship that is heading towards marriage, but there should be as many
God honoring stories as there are individuals. Our God is personal,
and can speak to us and lead us, and He will when we ask!
For us, we ask that you don’t hold up their story as the perfect pattern
to follow, but rather have hope in the Lord, value highly your parents
input and counsel, and always seek God's guidance first and foremost,
for the pure and undefiled story He wants to write in your lives.
Bernie and Linda Beall
Update for 2015:
Josh and Kerin's story unfolded in 2004 and they were married in
2005. This article was written by them in about 2006 if my memory serves
correctly. It is now 2015 and I thought it appropriate to add some
additional thoughts which might be helpful reading before reading their
story. Our thoughts (above) written at the time of this story's writing in 2006 were
originally at the bottom of the article, but I am placing them now at the
top to make sure the qualifiers are read. This story most likely seems
pretty radical to many readers. But it was birthed by two families
seeking to honor God with their lives. This story is not intended to be thought of as 'the right way' for a society. But it was 'the right way' for them and for us as we sought God's direction. In the end it is a story about a fierce love for God and for family, and about seeking God's direction for next steps along the way. It is a very personal
story of two individual's quests to operate within the light that they had in
that season of their life journey. And all of our lives are a journey!
We seek truth and seek to walk in light of it. God oversees our stories and works them to good, and we can trust Him to be guiding our way. Our life journey is never going to be a story of us living a 'perfect' way or being 'perfect' people. It is about seeking and serving and obeying and loving with our whole hearts a perfect God. We are trusting God to write our stories ultimately, not us, not our parents, not our friends.
As my second son and his future wife began their
journey towards marriage in 2011, there were certainly some differences in their path! They
lived further apart and needed to travel together to be able to
visit each other on weekends. Aaron is pretty introverted, and the two of them needed to have more privacy and more time to get to know one another than Josh and Kerin had. And while Josh was asked to meet with Kerin's parents for over a
month, when Aaron called Christina's father to meet with him, Aaron only met once with him and he simply said 'yes.':) Her parents
felt they knew enough about Aaron to not need to meet with him and ask lots of questions over several weeks.
And if my daughter is ever in a relationship that is moving towards marriage, she and that future man will need to also find their
own way as they seek to honor God and keep themselves pure, as well, and I am sure there will be differences. And it will ultimately be up to them to figure it out. What I hope for her is that if she has a 'story' some day, it will be one of purity and honor to God, and one of valuing the input of parents who raised her and love her and want the best for her more than any other human, until a husband becomes her number one lover and friend. She is much older than Josh was when he married and also a bit older than Aaron was so that will affect her story too.
Amazingly, although their stories have some differences, both Josh and Aaron chose to wait for the physical part of their relationship until after marriage, including both having their first kiss as a married couple after being officially married. :) Not an easy choice!
So we hope, dear reader, that Josh and Kerin's tale encourages you not to follow a formula, but to follow and trust God, and to not be afraid to do things differently than society's model.
God's blessings to you if you are seeking Him for wisdom about a life partner!
Josh and Kerin in 2005
Honor thy Father and Mother
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with a promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” Eph. 6:1-3
Joshua Beall and Kerin Bloom grew up in Christian homes, lovingly guided, protected and home-educated by their parents. They both gave their lives to Christ at an early age, and, as they grew older, faced many challenges to their trust and faith in God. Their parents had chosen to lead and guide them in a different direction than the norm, and peer pressure nagged at them many times. Sometimes, it seemed that their parents must surely be wrong, possibly even to the point of ruining their lives. But one truth continually stayed with them: Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with a promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Josh and Kerin came to embrace this truth as their lifestyle, and began to see that things truly were “well with them.”
For Josh, choosing to take his parents' counsel meant giving up his
desire to attend a traditional college to further his education. He
was sure that if missed out on going away to school, he would not only
be substantially behind his peers and set back in the job search, but
he would also never meet the woman God had for him. Staying home from
college seemed like a death knell to any possible success in life. His
parents asked him to pray and consider devoting time to strengthening
his relationship with his brother by launching a web design business
together, while pursuing alternative and less expensive methods to
obtaining a college degree. Faced with the choice of either
disregarding his parents’ input, or sacrificing his dreams, after taking a day to fast
and pray, he believed the Lord wanted him to take his parents'
counsel. His parents didn't even know until later that he felt that
choice was like placing his life on the altar, believing that it would
burn. But Josh’s life and his dreams did not then go up in smoke as he
expected. The Lord blessed his obedience to what he believed God was
asking of him, immensely: not only did he successfully strengthen his
relationship with his brother, as well as build an entrepreneurial
business which brought in income and gave both of them work experience,
but he also obtained a four year college degree in only two years, and
for a fraction of the cost—and all from home, where his living expenses
were nominal. The rewards are immeasurable when the Lord is honored!
Other blessings were to come because of Josh’s obedience to God, but those
will be shared later in the story.
Kerin’s heart desire was to serve her family. For almost five years, Kerin had been working for a Christian organization, under her father’s blessing. During that time, she had also completed cosmetology school. While she loved her job, she found her heart being drawn more and more towards home. She sought the direction of her parents, sharing with them her desire to spend most of her time serving at home, while working only part-time at a local hair salon. Although her father agreed that this was a good desire, he did not believe that it was time for her to leave her job. So she committed it to prayer, waiting on the Lord to guide her through her dad. In God’s timing, Kerin was given her dad’s blessing to resign from her job and come home.
Called to Marriage
“But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every on, so let him walk... Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called... Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” I Corinthians 7:17, 20 & 24
Well before they ever met each other, Josh and Kerin believed that God had called them to married some day. When, who or how that would come to pass was still an unknown; but they did know that God had called them to raise up a godly seed for the Kingdom. So while neither were actively pursuing a life partner, but instead were waiting on the Lord’s providence, they knew that everything they did as they waited on God’s timing was ultimately preparing them for marriage. Because Josh was at home, instead of away at school, he was able to learn from and be discipled by his father in godly manhood. As Kerin served at home, she was gaining valuable lessons in home management and motherhood, as well as a practical understanding of submission as she lived under the authority and direction of her father.
“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of the mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”
Regarding what to look for in a young woman, Josh’s father’s counsel was quite simple: Don’t look for a young woman. This sounds extreme at first, and taken out of context can be misinterpreted. But his father’s point was this: first and foremost, you must be looking, not for a life partner, but towards the goal the Lord has put before you, and you must strive to serve Him in any capacity. In time, it may be that you realize there is a young woman who is running alongside you towards the same goal, who is of like mind, who has the same passions for the Lord that you do, and (most importantly) whom the Lord has placed there.
For a young lady the counsel is similar. When Kerin was 13, she made a covenant with her dad, pledging him to be the keeper of her heart until God, through her father, brought her knight in shining armor. This was freeing, and allowed her to completely focus on serving in the areas where God had called her.
To both Josh and Kerin, these “umbrellas” of parental counsel and protection provided much freedom in their relationships with others, particularly with those of the opposite gender. Knowing that they didn’t need to worry about finding a life partner, and that God would bring one in his time, gave them each a liberty to pursue the Lord with their whole heart, and undertake the tasks that He placed before them without distraction.
Kerin caught Josh’s eye long before any relationship began. Josh prayed for Kerin for over a year before he took the first step. He prayed for the Lord’s blessing and protection on her as a young lady, prayed for the Lord’s blessing on her father as her shield and protector, and prayed also for himself, that the Lord would speak to him and give him clear direction. This was a long and, at times, very difficult process for Josh. As with anyone he cares about deeply, he wanted the Lord’s best for Kerin. He knew that God’s plan was much greater than anything he could imagine, much less bring to pass. However, the Lord showed Josh that praying for Kerin’s best meant praying for the best in all things—including in a spouse. And it took very little self-analysis for Josh to realize that he is not the greatest or most perfect man in the world! Yet he was praying that Kerin would have the absolute best; it seemed he was praying against himself.
For Kerin things were substantially different at first. She had known Josh for almost three years, but up until the end of that period she didn’t really like him at all, and definitely had no interest in being anything more than an acquaintance. However, after their families began to fellowship with one another more frequently, she became aware of his deep walk with God and his love for his family. Additionally, she realized that the paths they both had chosen were strikingly similar. So they became friends, and interacted with each other at church and as their families spent time together. After a few months or so, Kerin found Josh coming to mind more than she knew was best. She began to pray— she prayed that God would guard her heart and not allow her to step too far in her friendship with Josh. She prayed also for Josh, that he would continue to be a man after God’s own heart, following Him wherever He might lead. Sometimes prayer was necessary only once in awhile, and at other times it was needed on the hour. But as she kept her focus on the Lord, her feelings and emotions were kept in check—though sometimes she did do extensive battle in prayer! Later, Kerin would realize that this battle was the first gentle prodding, as the Lord was slowly drawing her heart towards Josh, preparing her to begin a relationship.
The When and How
Both Josh and Kerin knew that when God would direct them to begin a relationship, they would proceed at full blast. However in the meantime, there were some practical things to think about, especially for Josh.
It was important to Josh to have the full blessing of his parents, so as he was praying for the Lord’s direction, he was also seeking direction from his parents. Josh also knew that before he could pursue the hand of a young lady, he would need to be financially ready to support a family. Thus, before he sought Kerin’s father’s blessing, he made sure he had a financial plan for the future.
Kerin, for her part, was preparing for a committed relationship, with marriage as the goal, by learning to manage a home. She had been trained in home management since she was young, and gleaned much on how to become a suitable helpmeet from her mother and other godly women around her. One married friend, with three young children, gave Kerin this advice: Treasure and build up your times with the Lord while you are single. Once you are married and have a family to care for, you will have other responsibilities from God, and you need a strong foundational walk with the Lord to lean on.
Now the stage was set. Josh had received his parents’ full blessing and encouragement and his father had given him permission to take the next step.
The story begins . . .
At the beginning of March, 2005, Josh approached Kerin’s father about pursuing Kerin for his wife. For about a month, Josh met with Kerin’s father, and sometimes her mother was present as well. To protect Kerin’s heart from becoming involved before her father had given his blessing, these meetings were conducted without her knowledge. Then one morning, her father and mother took her out for breakfast . . .
Given the green light
After some small talk at breakfast, Kerin’s father shared several Scripture passages that he had read that morning about the Lord’s abundant blessings poured out on those who follow His will. He then went on comment on his role as God’s “gatekeeper” for Kerin’s life. Then came the big news: there was a young man who been knocking at the gate. Her father told her that he, and her mother at times, had been meeting with this young man, as well as with his parents, for just about a month. Then he handed Kerin a letter he had received. As she opened the letter and began to read, Kerin knew immediately who had written it. Humbled by how highly Josh already valued her, she was especially touched that he had been praying for her for over a year! Kerin knew that this was her knight in shining armor, brought by the Lord Himself. She had no reservations. Sure, she needed to get to know Josh better, but in almost all the essentials, she already knew him through their friendship.
Josh was given the green light. Kerin was his to pursue. Together they embarked on a journey, with marriage as the goal.
First things first
Although Josh and Kerin both felt the Lord’s calling and blessing on their relationship, there were still things to learn about each other and issues to be discussed. Within the first two weeks they covered many topics, asked many questions, and shared many stories from their past. With the help of their parents, online resources, and their own inquisitiveness, they quickly became closely acquainted, discovering everything about one another-- from the serious to the silly.
For Josh and Kerin it was important that they do their best to find any differences or difficulties they might have had very early on in their relationship, in order to protect both of their hearts. Regardless of the extensive care and caution that governed their behavior, it was still possible that they and their parents had misunderstood the will of the Lord and embarked on this relationship out of their own will. For this reason, Josh and Kerin wanted to expose any warning flags quickly, before they were too deeply entangled.
But there had been no mistake. No flags popped up, and as Josh and Kerin drew closer and closer, it became clear that the Lord was abundantly blessing this relationship.
Let your heart be wooed
Chocolate covered strawberries, flowers, walks, dinners out, letters, long phone conversations . . . All of these are a part of winning a woman’s heart. Although it did not take long for Josh to win Kerin’s heart, he continued to show her how much he valued her by wooing her throughout their courtship.
Because Josh and Kerin were close to their families before their courtship began, they continued to stay involved in family activities and contribute to family projects. They also felt that their parents’ and siblings’ input and involvement were important for their relationship to thrive and stay on course.
Josh and Kerin, and their parents, desired to have a relationship that was honoring to God and above reproach. They knew that man is sinful by nature, and temptation is very real. What better way to ward off temptation but by being held accountable by parents and siblings? Josh and Kerin’s families were the best accountability partners, and their siblings the best chaperones. Many times they willingly gave of their time to be a backseat passenger or a tag-along for shopping or other errands.
Both families also continued to fellowship frequently. Instead of the focus solely being on Josh and Kerin, it was on the families together, as a team.
The Mystery of Engagement
Most everyone loves a surprise, and Kerin is no exception. She wanted her engagement to be a surprise in every detail, from the day to the ring. As her heart was quickly won, she began to wonder when the special event might happen. But however anxious she was at times, she never asked Josh when or what he might be planning.
In May, their families had planned a vacation to the beach, sharing a duplex right off the ocean. The first night, shortly after they had arrived, Josh took Kerin for a walk. They walked and talked for a long while, and just as they were preparing to head back, Josh got down on one knee and asked Kerin to be his wife. And for the first time, they told each other, “I love you.”
A lot of planning must go into a wedding, and while it was mainly Kerin who took care of the details, she was blessed by Josh’s support. He diligently prayed for her, offered his opinion or advice, and continued to shower Kerin with his love and care.
Because of all the time and energy poured into wedding preparations, sometimes people can get caught up in it all and forget what they are planning for. A wedding is not just a one day celebration; it’s the first day of a lifelong celebration together. And all the planning in the world for a perfect day will not create a perfect lifetime. Time still needs to be invested in the relationship. Josh and Kerin made sure they put their relationship first by continuing to spend quality time together. They also met with their pastor for pre-marital encouragement and discipleship.
As the big day approached and things got busier every day, Josh and Kerin ensured that their relationships with their families also stayed a priority. Sometimes this was difficult, as Josh and Kerin daily longed for more time together. But they continued to remind each other that they would have a lifetime to share, and needed to still invest quality time with their families, who were pouring out so much love and effort for their wedding. Besides this, Josh and Kerin knew that their family relationships would never be the same once they were married, so special family time needed to be treasured.
The big day, and the first kiss
Though sometimes it seemed like an eternity until the wedding day would arrive, the time finally came, complete with sunny skies and beautiful weather. The Bloom’s backyard was beautifully decorated with tents and archways, row upon row of white chairs were neatly set up, flowers lined the aisle, and a tall white candle stood on the platform, lit to represent the Light of the world.
At one-thirty in the afternoon, on September tenth, two thousand and five, the wedding ceremony for Josh and Kerin began. The groom walked the mothers down the aisle. The bridesmaids followed, escorted by the groomsmen. Kerin’s two youngest brothers were the perfect ring-bearers, walking in step. Sweet flower girls spread rose petals down the aisle runner. And finally, stepping out from a white tent which had hidden her until the appointed time, the bride came down the aisle on her father’s arm. Seeing the bride for the first time that day, the groom could not stop smiling.
Josh and Kerin’s fathers conducted the ceremony, each charging the couple to live their lives committed to Christ, serving Him first and foremost. They made a covenant before God and their witnesses, pledging their love and faithfulness to each other until death. Rings were exchanged as a token of their covenant and love. They were declared husband and wife, and, for the very first time, Josh and Kerin shared their first romantic kiss with anyone, anywhere. And it was worth the wait! What sweetness to share that kiss with no regrets, no comparisons, and to bring that legacy of faithfulness into their marriage, enabling them to trust more readily in the future faithfulness of each other.
For pictures of Josh and Kerin’s Wedding, go to www.joshandkerin.com/wedding